The Seals, Trumpets and Vials of Revelation Summarized
6:1 The first seal;
3 The second seal;
5 The third seal;
7 The fourth seal;
9 The fifth seal;
12 The sixth seal;
8:1 The seventh seal.
8:7 The first trumpet;
8 The second trumpet;
10 The third trumpet;
12 The fourth trumpet;
9: 1 The fifth trumpet – and the FIRST WOE (9: 1 – 11)
9:13 The sixth trumpet – and the SECOND WOE (9: 12)
10: 2, 3 THE SEVEN THUNDERS – UNRECORDED – AT THIS TIME. The Sixth Trumpet emits the Second Woe of Three Woes; that Second Woe brings forth the Seven Thunders. The Seventh Trumpet occurs either simultaneously with the Seventh Thunder or immediately after it, and seemingly at the same time as the Seventh Vial and the Seventh Seal.
11: 15 The seventh trumpet – and the THIRD WOE (11: 15 -> Kingdom!)
16: 2 - First Vial;
3 Second vial;
4 Third vial;
8 Fourth vial;
10 Fifth vial;
12 Sixth vial;
16:16 THE GATHERING TO ARMAGEDDON
17 Seventh Vial -> Kingdom!
It’s interesting and extremely unusual that the scriptural order of these events was confused (misplaced) by John Thomas in his telescopic view of the Apocalypse.
The appearance is that he didn’t know how to explain the unrecorded thunders as occurring where they are revealed, so he simply decided to place them where they made the most sense to him at the time, and in a place where he could offer a seemingly logical explanation of them. He did not expect the Jewish people to be regathered to the land in any great numbers, or to gather on their own accord and with their own funds despite great difficulty; they were supposed to be regathered by Britain in onlyslight numbers and later be dispersed by the Gogian host. He could not have possibly foreseen that over six million of them would pour into the land under their own power after being completely betrayed by Britain and consistently excluded from the land to the limit of Britain’s ability!
But such difficulty (i.e., not having this impossible foresight) does not give one such license. I humbly submit that our brother should have simply admitted that he didn’t understand what these events could be and leave it to the reader’s discretion, and for the future to reveal. Or, on the other hand, he might have reconsidered his overall view of the affair and realized that his projections for the future were seriously flawed. And let us hasten to admit – we aren’t adamant as to our own view of the Seven Thunders being entirely correct, either. Our comments are merely logical suggestions based on the history we have observed prior to the Second Advent.
Since these were uttered but not recorded, we can only speculate as to their nature and attempt to understand them in light of current affairs. John Thomas could not in his time have possibly expected the coming realities – that Israel should gather into the Land and be required to defend itself time and again – that these conflicts might possibly be our “contemporary” explanation of the Seven Thunders. This would have been because of his realization of the grinding poverty of the Arabs, their terrible insignificance in his time, and the obvious irrelevance of “the Arabs” of his day. His view of them is well illustrated by his description of them as “the freebooters of the desert.” As such there is no possible way they could have caused the returned Jews to be discomfited.
The Arabs of the Middle East are far above and beyond such an insignificant position today. They largely control the one commodity that governs just how well the world conducts its commerce and politics: oil. In the mid-19th century, oil meant almost nothing in the geopolitics of the day. Indeed, it was precisely in John Thomas’ day that a significant advance in the early developmental history of oil was achieved in Titusville, Pennsylvania: this entry is from Wikipedia – regarding that first viable oil well.
Oil was known to exist here, but there was no practical way to extract it. Generally, its main use to that time had been as a medicine for both animals and humans. In the late 1850s Seneca Oil Company (formerly the Pennsylvania Rock Oil Company) sent Col. Edwin L. Drake, to start drilling on a piece of leased land just south of Titusville near what is now Oil Creek State Park. Drake hired a salt well driller, William A. Smith, in the summer of 1859. They had many difficulties, but on August 27 at the site of an oil spring just south of Titusville, they finally drilled a well that could be commercially successful. #
But the development of the internal combustion engine, which absolutely demanded gasoline – a principal fraction of crude oil – was still about 40 years in the future. The discovery of oil under the vast sands of the Middle East was likewise in the distant future. Today, oil’s importance can hardly be overstated. But its future prominence could not have been apparent to John Thomas or others of his day. And neither were many of the other events/features of the Endtime which were essential to make a better approximation as to the nature of the Seven Thunders as well as sufficient to recognize several other later, important developments which are directly explained by and traceable to the Prophets of Israel. Only the passage of nearly 150 years would afford anyone the opportunity to observe a set of terrible conflicts which reasonably could fill the gap and give significance to the Thunders.
In late 2009, this publication offered what we felt to be a sensible, logical and scriptural explanation of the Seven Thunders. At that time we noted the serious discrepancies of this diagram – its disagreement with the sequence of revelations recorded by John - but commented upon these minimally. And we also stated that our explanation was merely a suggestion; if one didn’t agree with our suppositions then he should simple ignore them.
We suggested that the Seven Thunders may represent the conflicts of modern Israel with her neighbors round about, the last of which we proposed should bring the return of Messiah and His salvation to Israel, and later to the nations of the earth. This seems still to be the most likely nature of the Thunders, as they occur in the era just prior to the Seventh Trumpet.
Now … as to the nature of the conflicts of Christ and the Saints after their Return from the Judgment Bar, we really need have few serious basic questions about the overall features of those activities. The conflicts prophesied to take place in that time are well described by many entries in prophecy. They are not all packaged neatly in two chapters as is the concise Gogian affair (integral to those future times), but are easily assembled by context, and integrated with each other textually. In doing so, one must strictly attend to the named enemies, not assigning some other extraneous identity to them; in so doing he may easily discern how they interact with Israel and each other!
All we have to do (it is an exacting task, but achievable) to perceive these, is look at all the references and consider each of them in their context. The first body of conflicts – those with the Proximal (nearby) Islamic nations – is far more fully described than the two subsequent major conflicts,possibly these revelations being given us in these last days of the Endtime in order to generate faith in us (not despair), in order that we may more perfectly perceive just how this protracted series of conflicts prepares the Islamic states for each one’s fatal destruction, and exactly why they so richly deserve this end! Such understanding would also act to give us courage, and complete faith in the dreadful hallows – the certain consecration – that our Father has immutably established for them.
In addition to these benefits, their revelation is such detail should act to give us a firmer, surer understanding of the events leading up to the physical return of Christ – a time at which the saints of God are to be taken out of mundane circulation and their eternal futures determined by their Judge. In such a case, the latter two conflicts should mean much less to us that the first, triggering event. But the details of the second and third should at the same time be needed to fill out our understanding of the future events leading to the conquest of the earth by Messiah.
Such a benefit would furnish faithful seekers an entirely comprehensible and substantial bridge in the Endtimes from the establishment of the nation of Israel forward in time through exciting and confusing years to the active events of the near future to which most of them surely shall be witness. It would be a superb faith generator, which He indubitably knew we would greatly desire and need in these final days which could otherwise discourage us and give us despair. To us, the vision (its fulfillment) may seem to tarry, as Habakkuk phrased it, but was assured that it should NOT do so in reality (Habakkuk 2:3).
Our careful extrapolation of the capital conflicts and our insight that there should be seven of these, would give us substantial hope that events were progressing as our Father had planned. We all should know that information “intellectually;” but a few have actually lost faith in the process because it has seemingly been so slow; these are said to have turned away from Truth and have gone their own pathetically worldly ways!
Yet, it is possible that the Thunders’ detailed natures were not allowed to be actually recorded by Johnspecifically because they were generally out of character with the pervasive overall message of the Apocalypse – namely, the complex, progressive interaction of the Ecclesia of Christ and the Church of the False Prophet/Harlot, and not principally expounding the Endtime transactions of the returning People of Israel to their Land – quite a different stream of revelation. Otherwise, perhaps their details might genuinely confuse that overall revelation by inexplicably relating in obscure signs this completely different stream of events. That might reasonably seem to be the consideration of the Almighty on our behalf, for He has given these forecasts so that His servants should understand His plan rather than be confused by it, and not be discouraged that things are not moving as swiftly as they desire.
I am aware that there shall again be severe reactions by a few of our contemporaries to this re-stated thesis. My urgent consideration of this is that our scholarship must strive to encourage and assist the saints in HOW to understand, interpret and analyze God’s word, and not dictate to them WHAT to think – most often based on 19th century projections. Can you imagine falling severely ill with some grave illness and checking into an hospital which dispenses only 19th century medicine? Can you imagine the Wright brothers establishing an institute of aeronautics at MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) today? Or can you visualize General Robert E. Lee organizing a tank battalion in today’s army?
Okay – it’s not REALLY the same analogy I suppose, or a perfect comparison, but the approximation is close enough to illustrate the point. None of these older people or institutions should have been exposed to the magnificent achievements of later years and hundreds of advances which have taken place in every field of endeavor – which are equivalent to mountains of fulfilled prophecy since those earlier days. Their outdated knowledge and techniques would not be nearly as effective as modern ones would; indeed some of them should be destructively retrogressive. Think of using leeches to “bleed” severely ill patients; or a spoonful of kerosene mixed with sugar for gastric pain! Their understanding of the disease processes, the theories of flight, and current specifics of tactical tank warfare would be completely unknown. By current standards their techniques and methods should be completely abrogated – indeed, not even considered.
We can certainly do better in our understanding – not be perfect, perhaps … but be better. And that isn’t an arrogant claim. It is an humble and thankful statement that we had certainly better be able to improve on earlier theories because of the vast body of advances in the prophetic scene which have transpired since those early times. Just as “old” medical practices and procedures were as effective as they could possibly be for the time, our contemporary approaches are surely more effective, more satisfactory, and benefit the patient as fully as possible in this day.
So … to what are we referring? To the numerous, absolutely vital events which have spanned the time between that past era and today, ALL of them filling in details of prophetic fulfillment; allow me to list several that I can think of offhand, all of which bear critically on our overall understanding of Bible prophecy:
· That the Jews were responsible for the founding by THE JEWS THEMSELVES of the great scheme for The Return of the Jews to their Land in a time when they did not yet have a land to which to return, completely without any assistance from any organized world polity (any country, such as Britain).
· That two obscure Rabbis of East Europe – Rabbi Alkalai and Rabbi Kalischer – would soon perceive and propose that Israel’s redemption should actually come in TWO stages (obviously a scriptural teaching since it has happened in that way); that their “return to Him” would first be their physical “return” to the Land, although almost none of them had ever been there before, as inJeremiah 24:7; 35:15. Then, by work, they said, and faithful occupation and development of the Land, the Almighty would then redeem them as a body by the coming of Messiah, at which time they should “return” to Him in spirit, and be welcomed by Him with outstretched hearts and hands.
· That the key role in that Return should be filled chiefly by one man, Theodor Herzl, an Austrian attorney and journalist – a dreamer of the dream who was the prime mover of this plan while not even a "religious" Jew.
· That the inevitable, crawling and fitful, but persistent advance of the pioneers’ efforts eventually should achieve the spectacular success of World Zionism in returning the Jews of Europe and Western Asia once it gained traction.
· That the sparse trickle of those who in the 19th century made Aliyah under the Ottoman Turk’s nose, should purchase scrubby and malaria-ridden, swampy land on their own initiative with donated money, and start to cultivate it entirely in agreement with the necessary preamble of the great Development Prophecy of Ezekiel 36: “Ye mountains of Israel, hear the word of the Lord…”
· That oil in superabundance should be discovered under the sands of some of the most desolate land on earth – land wholly occupied by largely ignorant nomadic Arabs with little prior worldly assets and no civilized culture – and oil’s development parallel with its greatest consumer, the internal combustion engine which should be nearly simultaneously invented.
· That Britain would actually issue an Edict of Return on the Jews’ behalf (the Balfour instrument) and publish it widely as its rational reason for ousting the Ottoman Turk from Palestine.
· That the greatest navy in the world of that day should decide to convert its vessels from coal power to bunker oil-fed engines – a factor which would mandate that that navy’s owner, Britain, “get along” with the Arabs rather than antagonize them, in order to assure their supply of this precious oil. [This perhaps was the chief motivator of Britain’s change of plans immediately after it issued the Balfour Declaration, declaring that Britain favored the establishment of a Jewish state in Palestine.]
· That a world war should be necessary to bring about the physical realignments that had to be made in order for the provisions of the Balfour Declaration to be implemented; that is, the ousting of the Ottoman Turk from Palestine, Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia,Trans Jordan and the Arab Emirates.
· That his followers should behold the dramatic “drying up of the Euphrates,” easily recognizing it as the fulfillment ofRevelation 16:12 – not only that operation of “drying” but the meaning of the phrase immediately following in the verse, “that the way of the kings of the east might be prepared.”
· That the “kings of the east” would not actually be Christ and the Saints coming in His glory as many had expected, but would be exactly what the language of Jesus in Luke 21:29 indicates: that the kings of the east would consist of “all the trees” besides the fig tree – nearly two dozen polities of Islamic sheiks, emirs, “kings” and rulers who should slice up that evacuated territory and take it to themselves, usually on good terms (or at least civil terms) with the Western developed nations who needed the oil being produced by some of them.
· That the settlement of the “Great War” should set the stage for the extreme repression and persecution of the Jews of Europe and West Asia by rabid fascists, giving their victims an insatiable compulsion to return to their Land, which in that era would be under a Mandate to Britain, which would retard their emigration in every possible way to placate their Arab friends.
· That Deuteronomy 28 and Leviticus 25 and other pointed prophecies should literally be fulfilled in the heinous events of the Nazi Holocaust, in which six million Jews and about six million others would be imprisoned, enslaved, gassed, incinerated, executed by firing squad, drowned and desecrated by a well-advanced civilization of Aryan anti-Semites led by a crazed, evil maniac.
· That the Jews would emigrate to the Land from Europe in great hordes, fleeing the xenophobia that they had experienced, and become so numerous in Palestine that they could effectively resist and repudiate the British mandatory government with guerrilla warfare, making it so uncomfortable that the now insignificant English would be forced to abdicate their mandate and hand it back to the United Nations Organization.
· That the pin-pointed “return” of Jews from Muslim countries listed specifically in Isaiah 11 was to be so starkly literal … and almost totally fulfilled by 1952!
· That the United Nations Organization should have succeeded the League of Nations – itself also yet unknown, being well ahead in time from 1865 – and that it should beyond all calculations approve by vote a Partition of Palestine into a Jewish State and an Arab State side by side in the remaining land (after 78 percent of it had been awarded to Abdullah of Mecca as Trans Jordan, later to become Jordan).
· That the Jews would accept the partition plan, but that the Arabs would not; and that 660,000 Jews immediately should find themselves at war with over 100 million Arabs, Egyptians, Persians, Druze and others in a death struggle for survival in a War of Independence.
· That this small number of Jews should form themselves into a citizen army of ill-trained, non-uniformed, poorly-equipped, inexperienced mob of rag-tag soldiers of liberty and actually win this forced war and gain far more territory than they had been awarded by the Partition Plan.
· That despite their best efforts in that conflict, half of Jerusalem should go into captivity to Jordanians of the Arab Legion, and the Old City be separated from Israel for nineteen more years.
· That this event – the conquest of Jerusalem in 1967 – should actually fulfill the prophecy of the 2300 evening-mornings rather than in the way earlier expected.
· That this unforeseen event – the loss of half of Jerusalem – of June 1949 should perfectly fulfill Zechariah 14:2.
· That, despite this severe disappointment, the Jewish State should immediately adopt Jerusalem as its eternal capital and form the infrastructure of its government in the Western half of the city, including most government operations, the presidential residence, the Knesset, and the other bureaus and agencies of governance. And that “the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city.”
· That three more savage conflicts between Israel and its nearby enemies should ensue in the following 25 years with Israel being the supreme victor in each one without any doubt by any standard.
· That Israel should thus be the dedicated benefactor of the invisible intervention of the Archangel Michael who, In Daniel 12:1-3 should “stand up” for Israel behind the scenes and “fight for them as when God fought in the day of battle?”
· That as Israel developed mightily, and prospered in every way, the Arabs round about would be content to live in abject poverty and with vitriolic hatred of Israel dominating their cultures as foretold in great detail in numerous prophecies such as Obadiah, Isaiah 11, Ezekiel 35, Psalm 83, Psalm 102, Zechariah 10-14, Micah, Habakkuk and Malachi.
· That serial Arab attempts to wipe out Israel should fail miserably.
· That Israel’s armed forces should gain high respect among the national armies of the nations and establish the third strongest fighting force in the world.
· That the intellectual progress of the Jews would accelerate immensely, gaining Nobel Prizes for a great plurality of Jews proportional to all other peoples.
· Well … I suppose you have now grasped the enormity of the differences between what the earlier scholars expected and what has been observed to have occurred!
The expected track has incontrovertibly been compromised in almost every tenet which was earlier expected. However, as always, we acknowledge that the early scholars did as well with their current facts as anyone could have done in their times. We cannot in reality hold them responsible for the erroneous conclusions that they drew and published widely. They led no one astray! Yet, the absolute necessity was that many of the above “keys” had to transpire before the still subsequent events could possibly be understood, so we hold that these scholars did not purposely seek to lead anyone astray as to expectations, or to propagate a private “agenda” in so calculating. They projected their explanations and their correlations of prophetic writings in the most logical way possible for them at the time.
Those facts do not, however, give today’s Believers license to hold to these old, obviously erroneous projections. None of us are qualified “prophets” today; that era has long passed. We have only God’s Word – and it is MORE THAN SUFFICIENT! God’s Word is all we need, given the profusion of key prophetic fulfillment! It is our considered opinion that, for contemporary students to insist on the validity of those erroneous projections is to constitute themselves false prophets!
Yes … that is the only logical conclusion!
This stubborn insistence upon failed prophetic outlooks does everyone a great disservice: it fails to warn the contemporaneous Believers of the times in which we live. It fails to alert all their adherents that the time of Christ’s Second Advent is much nearer than they may suspect; it fails to encourage watchfulness and readiness for that great event. It may even engender in some a lazy attitude as to their own personal preparedness to meet their Saviour when He comes. So we must be frank in discussing these false presumptions: they essentially are vigorously forecasting events of the Endtime contrary to God’s revealed word.
The commandment of Isaiah 8:20, To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them, surely comes into effect here. The prophets have given ample and sure testimony concerning the Almighty’s plan for the Endtime. Any man speaking not according to these prophecies even after they have been fulfilled, refusing the clear facts presented to them is certainly guilty of false prophecy of a sort – for their suppositions and projections are NOT according to the word of God. They are seeking to establish a sequence of their own devices in contradistinction to the Almighty’s expressed will.
Yet, their misunderstandings are not in any way miscomprehension of the Basic (Saving) Plan of Salvation – the basic, underlying doctrinal scheme of Redemption and Rectification which men and women must understand and to which they must comply in making their covenant with the Almighty and His Son. In other words, the misunderstanding of these Endtime events is not a repudiation of the Father’s commandments as such, or an abridgment of His revealed plan of salvation. It is a different kind of erroneous expectation ; but it needs correcting immediately.
The honest repudiation of them is sorely called for in these perilous last days when those who profess the name of Christ may benefit so profoundly from a scriptural understanding of Endtime prophecies. These seekers of the City whose Builder and Maker is God, are called upon to repudiate their animosity toward others of their brethren who clearly see significant prophetic fulfillment in the myriad of events which have happened since 1870, and who have through much struggle and intense investigation begun to understand how these fit into the forecasts of the numerous prophecies of this momentous time in history – this great era of the final consolation of Israel, both natural and spiritual. The apostle addressed this matter in his letter to the Romans:
Rom 15:4 For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope. 5 Now the God of patience and consolation grant you to be likeminded one toward another according to Christ Jesus: 6 That ye may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. 7 Wherefore receive ye one another, as Christ also received us to the glory of God.
In so saying it is evident that those things “written aforetime” include the prophetic word, and that they indeed are “for our learning,” and that we benefit eternally through patience and comfort of the scriptures.
<HEL, MD/USA April 26, 2011>
April 2011: CYRUS, THE LIBERATOR
Contributed by Ronald Roth,
Cataumet, Massachusetts, USA
Please read: Isaiah 45.
The manner in which the Lord designed his Holy instruction book is impressive, that we mortals might glean heavenly wisdom therefrom, He many times chose an Hebrew man to typify His as yet unborn Son. It becomes of interest, therefore, when one time He chose the life of one other than an Israelite; that specific honor went to one Cyrus, King of Persia.
In the 28th verse of the 44th chapter of Isaiah, this Cyrus is introduced by name as if standing in the presence of God. The account reads as follows, "That saith of Cyrus, He is my shepherd, and shall perform all my pleasure: even saying to Jerusalem, Thou shalt be built; and to the temple, Thy foundation shall be laid.” This is a prophecy concerning Cyrus, the Persian, who was not even been born until a little over 150 years later!
It might seem to be incredible that the life and name of a man might be so clearly portrayed so long before his birth, but it leads us to recall the case of Josiah who was named some 300 yrs. before his birth (I Kings 13:1-3). And then there is Christ himself, who was named Immanuel in Isaiah 7.
This incident should raise no negative thoughts regarding credibility in the minds of Bible students, i.e., those which would question how or whether or not God would speak of or to a man that had not even been born yet. Remember Jeremiah's saying, “Then the word of the LORD came unto me saying, ‘Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.” This illustrates very nicely how Yahweh, at times, has specifically revealed His divine will far in advance of its fulfillment.
An extremely interesting consideration of Cyrus is the manner in which he, an earthly king, was chosen by God to typify the work that would ultimately be accomplished by His own Son. Cyrus was, in actuality, more than a King; he was an Emperor: “the sovereign or supreme leader of an empire.” An empire is a large territory comprised of multiple countries, or kingdoms, that usually had been conquered by the existing power. This implication associated with Cyrus is notable because God’s Son, when He returns, will become a conqueror of ALL nations and truly an Emperor of Emperors!
In God’s terminology, a King is more than adequate because the entire world will have become one polity, one kingdom united under the supervision of His Son, Jesus Christ.
There were several interpretations or meanings associated with the name, CYRUS [Koresh or Choresh in the original tongue]; “sun,” “throne,” and “like the heir” were significant ones. When we consider the typical indications and the historical aspects of Cyrus' personage there is little doubt that the the interpretation “like the heir” fits the situation dramatically well.
Cyrus became one of the most powerful men the earth had seen up until his lifetime; he therefore typified the role of God’s Son when He arrives to put down and subdue all authority at the time of His return.
Cyrus provided various blessings toward the restoration of Israel to their rightful homeland [which Christ shall also provide].
Cyrus was called (in 44:28) “my shepherd,” while Jesus, ‘the heir’ was known as “the good shepherd.”
Cyrus was destined to be responsible for the rebuilding of Jerusalem and the Temple while Jesus is “the man whose name is ‘the Branch’" who is designated to build the Temple of the Lord, and who, like Cyrus, shall free the Lord’s captive people. Has it not been said that “He led captivity captive and has given gifts unto men” (Ephesians 4:8)?
In the first verse of the chapter we have read, we note that Cyrus is actually called God’s Messiah or Anointed, and that this is the only place in the Scriptures where the term ‘Messiah’ is ascribed to a heathen king. Our interest here is of course that the only true Messiah as defined by scripture is Christ - ‘the heir.’
Further interest is aroused by the fact that not only does the composition and shadowing of the scriptures attest to the reality of this prophecy, but so also does secular history itself.
There are several versions proposed as to whom Cyrus really was. One has him as the son of Cambyses, a previous king of Persia. The gist of how Cyrus arrived at such a prominent position in Persia entails details that, even if legendary seem to fit the title “like the heir” with which we are dealing. The story goes that as son of Cambyses and a wife who Cambyses had married through political maneuvering, Cyrus' life was endangered as a babe. There had been a plan to slay him as soon as he had been born, and “like the heir” he was removed from harm by being sent out of the country and cared for by a herdsman and his wife until he could return to his rightful position in Persia.
Added to this information are historical allusions to his precociousness as a child-ruler by exercising mature and diligent character at an extremely young age. Both of these allusions, while certainly not able to be verified as to detail, are consistent with Cyrus’ strong typification of Christ’s life and mission.
In summary then, his quickness in understanding, the simplicity of his life, and the thoroughness of all his actions, his soberness and temperance, and the humanity manifested in his ruler ship, Cyrus was indeed, “like the heir”- a man "more precious than the gold of Ophir" (Isaiah 13: 12), though only a type of that “greater than he.”
We would like here to inject a sample of the attitude which Cyrus manifested toward the peoples which he had subdued. Cyrus’ unusual policies rested upon conciliation and identification with the national feelings and aspirations of the nations which he had conquered. The Babylonians did not find fault with him and the Jews were even became enthusiastic over him. Does not this continue to present a valid shadowing of the comparison “like the heir?”
Under his rule contentment was to be found everywhere. Having been born under adverse conditions he could be touched with the feelings of the infirmities of the peoples. Will not the anti-typical King, when His conquest is finally complete, be a Father to all? Hewill not, however, like Cyrus did, tolerate the Babylonian religion but will rather introduce forcibly to the “latter-day” Babylonians a more excellent way; and at last, these will not find fault with Him!
As to His primary subjects, the Jews, the scriptures tell us that, “In his days Judah shall be saved and Israel shall dwell safely.”Like Cyrus, he will call for their return from all the lands of their captivity; He shall begin the building of the temple of the age to come. This will be his special work, for his Father, the Lord God of heaven, shall have given him all the kingdoms of the earth and charged him to build His house.
The entire work of Cyrus, as that of Jesus, was of God. This is the most emphatic testimony of this prophecy and is in complete harmony with all Scripture including the testimony of Jesus as concerning Himself. The doctrines disseminated by Trinitarians has grossly obscured the Truth. It is God who raised up Cyrus, who anointed him, who “held his hand,” who called him by name, who rded him and made his way prosperous. He, Himself, by His supreme power did these typical things long before His only begotten Son was even born!
Then, some four centuries later, the very same things were testified of Jesus “the heir” Himself! God brings forth Christ to sit upon his father David’s throne, has anointed Him, holds His hand and keeps Him, and gives Him for a covenant. All this, Jesus testified of himself with relation to the Father’s purpose in Israel and with the rest of mankind.
Now there is a great contrast in one particular between Cyrus and Christ. The third verse of the chapter we read in opening tells us that the Lord God told Cyrus that he did all these things “that Cyrus might know that I, the Lord which call thee by thy name, am the God of Israel.” Yet it is immediately said, “thou hast not known me.”
It is evident that this is not a mere reference to the fact that Cyrus had not been born as yet, but because of his posing as a worshiper of the gods of Babylon, which no true servant of the Lord of the type of Daniel and his companions would ever have done. It is true that Cyrus makes reference to “the Lord God of heaven” having charged him to build the Temple, but this does not necessitate his being a true worshiper of the Lord any more than Rabshekeh’s claim of the Lord’s commission to him made him a true worshiper. (Isaiah 36:10) But, in Christ we see His awareness and knowledge of the Father in the highest possible manifestation which substantiated his being named Immanuel, i.e., “God with Israel”[with us] as he himself testified in his doctrine (Matthew 1:23).
Again, there is a comparison and a contrast when we apply the phrase, “for Jacob’s sake” to Cyrus and Jesus. It was not willingly and primarily “for Jacob’s sake” that Cyrus made his conquests and took the great kingdom and city of Babylon; and as for the ultimate destiny of Israel, God’s elect, there lay little connection with Cyrus' ideals. Just as the Assyrian had been employed as God’s “rod of anger” to chastise Israel, both these despots thought they were merely fulfilling their own destinies and agendas. Thus, Cyrus was employed by God to “shepherd” Israel, not specifically meaning to accomplish that in detail, but only to consolidate and re-found their own great dominion utilizing Cyrus’ own innate ideas of humanity and justice.
Now after considering some of the details of our comparison, we focus upon that vital “heir of all things” and the “shepherding for God” which He accomplished for Jacob my servants’ sake and for “Israel mine elect,”and we ask ourselves the question as to just how far does the antitype exceed the type in glory? Anointed by the Father with the Holy Spirit, and with power, He went about doing good and at the last, as the Good Shepherd, He “laid down his life for his sheep.”
And after laying it down, He took it up again as He was allowed to do by the Father - in order to fulfill the covenant made to Jacob to the uttermost. The lives of the Fathers of Israel and of all “the elect” are “hid in Him.” When he appears the second time they will appear with him in glory and inherit the land forever.
All the typical work of Cyrus was stated to be for the sole purpose of making known the Name of the Lord - and that there would be no God beside Him. Truly in Cyrus' career, he accomplished so many striking things that the prophets had foretold that it provided an outstanding testimony that the God of Israel, not the gods of Babylon, was the Master of the universe, the Avenger of His people, and the Creator and Possessor of heaven and earth.
Albeit, these events of Cyrus' life were nothing when compared with the manifestation of the name of the Lord in Jesus Christ in His time and to be so in the future. Greater works than those of Cyrus has he done and will do! “The glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together, for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it!” (Isaiah 40:5 )
That message to Cyrus, however, goes on in the 7th verse of the chapter which we read this morning, "I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things. Drop down, ye heavens, from above, and let the skies pour down righteousness: let the earth open, and let them bring forth salvation, and let righteousness spring up together; I the LORD have created it.”
Considering these words in reference to Cyrus, and Babylon of 540 BC, then in reference to Jesus and antitypical Babylon of the 20th century, what can be their signification?
Let us first consider light and darkness, then grace and evil with reference to Israel in the day of Cyrus. God had enlightened Israel at the first and had redeemed them from Egypt. However, as a result of their unfaithfulness, he darkened their “heavens” and the people were driven into spiritual darkness (see Isaiah 5:30). He had given them peace, but they had walked not in His counsel and as a result, evil overtook them by the hand of Nebuchadnezzar. Some, it was said, went into captivity “for their good,” and some “for their hurt,” or for evil; but it was all a result of God working amongst them.
Now, in connection with the 8th verse: did “the heavens drop down” in the days of Cyrus, or of Nebuchadnezzar? And did “the skies pour down righteousness” as in Isaiah 45: 8? What about “the earth opening to bring forth salvation?" There is no record of such in their times. There were, however, angelic visits to Daniel when and his companions were delivered from the fiery furnace; and when Gabriel, in answer to Daniel’s prayer, enlightened him as to the many things which were yet to come. But, as to salvation by resurrection, Gabriel himself referred Daniel to a very special “time of the end,” described as "a time of trouble such as never was;" to a time when Israel would be fully redeemed - not by Cyrus, the man we now recognize as being “like the heir,” but by that very “heir” Himself, even Jesus Christ the Son of Yahweh. This description from the beginning of Daniel 12 depicts Christ as Michael, meaning “Who like God,” but in full correspondence with our subject matter this morning, could be referred to as “Who, as God’s heir,” and is the personage who [ultimately] stands up for Israel in that day.
Daniel was told by Gabriel, “At that time, thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be written in the Book. And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life and some to shame and everlasting contempt. And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars forever and ever."
And Daniel himself was promised participation in the glory then to be revealed.
It is very obvious that this greater deliverance is the final objective for this far-reaching prophecy concerning Cyrus. The statement found in the 17th verse, “But Israel shall be saved in the LORD with an everlasting salvation“ alludes to the central objective regarding Yahweh’s plan for His creation.
Centuries later the apostle Paul in his writing to the Philippians was exhorting them to imitate the humility and obedience of Christ, which had been to some degree typified by Cyrus, and said. “He humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore hath God highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name; that at the name of Jesus every knee shall bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father."
Herein lies a Return of much greater stature than that from Babylonia, as this redemption involves "everyone that shall be found written in the book” (Daniel 12:1) thus including not only natural Israel, but also those multitudes of Gentiles who comprise Spiritual Israel, many of whom have been sleeping in the dust of the earth for so many centuries, awaiting this promised fulfillment!
Death and the grave are scripturally considered as “the great captivity” and the “prison-house of bondage.” Hence it is said of Jesus that he had “loosed the pains of death, because it was not possible that He should be holden of it.” (Acts 2:24) Also, “As for thee also, by the blood of thy covenant I have sent forth thy prisoners out of the pit wherein is no water.” (Zechariah 9:11) Therefore, like Cyrus, who regarded not silver and gold, Jesus will release the captives “not for price nor reward, saith the Lord of Hosts.”
Babylon resisted Cyrus and fell before him; as the result of Cyrus' victory, Israel, “God’s son” his Firstborn, was liberated and exalted by him. So shall it be under Jesus. Babylon the Great will again make war upon the anti-typical Christ, and will fall before Him, and His victory will be associated with “the manifestation of the sons of God.” This is what lies before us in this picture of mankind with his maker, as presented to us in the prophecy focusing upon the resurrection of the dead in ”the time of the end!”
If we now skip down to the ninth verse and read through verse 11, “Woe unto him that striveth with his Maker! Let the potsherd strive with the potsherds of the earth. Shall the clay say to him that fashioneth it, What makest thou? or thy work, He hath no hands?Woe unto him that saith unto his father, What begettest thou? or to the woman, What hast thou brought forth? Thus saith the LORD, the Holy One of Israel, and his Maker, Ask me of things to come concerning my sons, and concerning the work of my hands command ye me.”
In the days of the Babylonian captivity the indication of the strife between man and his Maker lay in such matters as Nebuchadnezzar’s boast over having personally created Great Babylon, his institution of the worship of the massive image, and the attempted burning of the servants of God who refused to so worship; also, in the blasphemies of Belshazzar at his feast while dishonoring the Lord and the vessels from the Temple at Jerusalem in a drunken orgy.
These monarchs were asking the questions, Who IS the Lord? Who IS this God who can deliver you out of my hands? Who is Israel - His son - his firstborn? What hath He bought forth?
In the eyes of oppressors, here existed a nation of [potential] slaves that they might easily place in bondage. Nebuchadnezzar, however, was humbled by their God; madness sent by this God of Israel overcame him; he experienced eating grass in the field like the oxen he used to own. Belshazzar came to his end by being slain in the fall of Babylon, and in accord with the mysterious message written by an angel on his palace wall that very same night.
Such were the woes that came upon Babylonia in those days, the last of which were administered by the hand of Cyrus, the Liberator of God's people, Whom He had determined to restore to their rightful Land.
<R K Roth, Feb. 26, 2011>
The eTPL accepts articles by contributing authors from time to time. Publication of such articles does not necessarily imply full agreement with the author’s viewpoint, but we consider such contributions helpful for analytical discussion of various aspects of prophecy - Editor.
The e Prophecy Letter
Why Ezekiel 38/39 and Daniel 11:40-45 are Different Prophecies
By Jonathan Farrar, Ontario, Canada
The interpretation of Daniel 11:40-45 that was developed and expounded by brethren in the 19th century is that it is parallel with Ezekiel 38 & 39. That is, the “king of the north” of Daniel 11:40-45 is the same as "Gog" in Ezekiel 38 & 39. Dr. Thomas gives 6 “proofs” of this congruency in Elpis Israel (p.422-423, 14th ed.), and 7 “proofs” in his Exposition of Daniel (p. 82-83).
In our study of prophecy, it is the name of God that we seek to glorify and not to vindicate the exposition of any man. Prophecy was given by God to have our faith strengthened in the prophetic word by being able to understand the events in the Bible that are as yet unfulfilled, so that when they do happen, we might believe (John 14:29). Therefore, we must carefully consider the Scriptures and the record of history. Living in the twenty-first century, we have an advantage that our brethren in the nineteenth century did not have, because of the time when they lived. Unlike them, we have witnessed the end of the Jewish dispersion in measure and the re-establishment of Israel and therefore have the benefit of historical fulfillment to guide us in our understanding.
No first principle of the truth is compromised if brethren differ on the finer details of prophecy. All that changes is what we watch for in connection with the second coming of Christ.
In this paper, I will offer 20 reasons why these two prophecies appear to be different. I will then examine the 7 “proofs” offered in the Exposition of Daniel and analyze them. I respectfully disagree with all of them. Finally I will present the case that Daniel 11:40-45 is a prophecy that was fulfilled in 1917 with the termination of the Ottoman Turkish power shortly after General Allenby captured Jerusalem.
20 Reasons why Ezekiel 38/39 and
Daniel 11:40-45 appear to be different
1. The contexts are different. Below I compare the contexts of these prophecies.
Daniel 11 details a long history of successive powers competing for control over the land of Israel. These powers were north and south of Israel, and are therefore described as the ‘king of the north’ and ‘king of the south’. Daniel 11 opens circa 534 BC with Cyrus as king.1 Verse 2 refers to four subsequent monarchs of Persia (Cambyses, Smerdis, Darius I Hystaspes and Xerxes).
A description of Alexander’s Greek empire and its subsequent division are next (11:3-4), after which the northern and southern fragment of his empire and their kings competed for dominance and engaged in conflicts over the territory of the Holy Land (11:5-29). The kings of the north were the Seleucids, i.e., Greek rulers whose domain was centred in Syria and Mesopotamia from 312 to 64 BC. The kings of the south were the Ptolemies, i.e., the Greek kings of Egypt who ruled from 323 to 30 BC.
Daniel 11:30-35 describes the Pagan Roman Empire which took control of the lands from the Seleucids and Ptolemies (to 330 AD), and Daniel 11:36-39 describes the Byzantine Christian Roman Empire which controlled this same land (through 640 AD). Daniel 11:40-45 begins sometime after 640 AD.
Ezekiel 38 (& 39) seems to be part of a sequence of events from chapters 32 through 39. For broader context, chapters 25 through 36 call for the destruction of Arab nations that surround Israel, with one exception: chapter 27 is the past destruction of Tyre by Alexander the Great in 322 BC. Chapter 37 is the ultimate regathering of the Jews to Israel, when they will dwell there permanently and when Christ is king (v.24-25). Chapters 38 & 39 describe a massive invasion into Israel, spearheaded by a power identified as Gog, which is accompanied by various allies, but completely annihilated. Chapters 40 through 48 describe the new temple era and geography of the restored kingdom of Israel after the Gogian-led onslaught against Israel has ceased.
It appears as if the contexts of Daniel 11 & Ezekiel 38 are quite different. However, that is not reason enough to conclude that they could not contain an identical prophecy.
2. They attack at different times. Gog attacks Israel in the “latter years” (38:8) and “latter days” (38:16); the king of the north attacks the king of the south at the “time of the end” (11:40). These are two different expressions that refer to different times.
The expression “time of the end” occurs only in the book of Daniel, in 8:17, 11:35, 11:40, 12:4 and 12:9. It must be understood from its context in Daniel. The expression “latter days” (also translated as “last days” in the KJV) occurs 15 times in the Old Testament and 4 times in the New Testament, in 10 Old Testament books and 4 New Testament books. Furthermore, the expression “latter days” occurs twice in Daniel (2:28 and 10:14). The fact that this expression also occurs in Daniel means that it is not to be understood the same way as the “time of the end.” Rather, the expression “latter days” must be understood from the context of the 10 OT books and 4 NT books in which it occurs.
The following is a list of all the occurrences of the identical expressions “latter days” or “last days.”
Verse Verse Description
Genesis 49:1 What happens to the 12 sons of Jacob/12 sons of Israel
Numbers 24:14 Return of Jesus; Jesus will smite Moab, Edom & Seir; Israel will be victorious
Deuteronomy 4:30 Israel is in tribulation
Deuteronomy 31:29 Evil will befall Israel
Isaiah 2:2 The mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established; nations will go to worship there; Jerusalem will be an administrative capital; no more war.
Jeremiah 23:20 God’s anger is executed on the wicked (false prophets)
Jeremiah 30:24 God restores the fortunes of Israel; Jesus is ruling; Israel is God’s people; God’s anger goes forth as a whirlwind.
Jeremiah 48:47 Moab’s fortunes are restored
Jeremiah 49:39 Persia/Iran’s fortunes are restored
Ezekiel 38:16 The Gogian (Russian) host will attack Israel
Daniel 2:28 Nebuchadnezzar’s dream of the image – ten toes
Dan 10:14 Something happens to the Jews
Hosea 3:5 Israel is regathered; they will seek God; Christ is their king
Joel 2:28-32 Chaos in the political heavens; refuge for those who seek God; Zion/Jerusalem appears to be the capital city
Micah 4:1 Same as Isaiah 2:2
Acts 2:17 People speaking in tongues was a foretaste of what will happen in the actual last days
2 Tim 3:1 Difficult living – immorality in the world
James 5:3 Laid up treasure for the last days
2 Peter 3:3 Scoffers, walking after their own lusts, saying, Where is the promise of His coming?
To summarize, the “latter days” or “last days” refers to a time period when the Jews have returned to their land, the temple is rebuilt in Jerusalem, Christ is reigning, and God has judged nations such as Moab, Elam, Sodom, Seir and Amalek. It also includes the time just prior to the return of Christ, since it will be a time of difficult living when scoffers mock the notion that Christ will return.2,3
The “time of the end” refers to the vision of the 2300 days in Daniel 8:17, the time when the king of the north in Daniel 11:35 was sacked by the Romans, and the time when the king of the north in 11:40 warred (or wars) against the king of the south. In Daniel 12:4, Daniel was told to shut up (keep hidden) the words, and seal the book, until the time of the end. In Daniel 12:9, Daniel was told that the words were to be hidden and sealed until the time of the end. Thus, we learn from Daniel 12 that the “time of the end” refers to the time when Daniel’s prophecies could begin to be understood, i.e., unsealed, and were no longer secretive. The two prophecies in Daniel 11 with this expression and the prophecy of the 2300 days in Daniel 8 would not be understood by people in Daniel’s day but can be understood today, or will be understood if fulfilled.
If Ezekiel 38 was parallel with Daniel 11:40-45, one might expect to find the phrase “latter days” in Daniel’s version. The fact that a completely different expression occurs – “time of the end” – suggests that the two prophecies are speaking about different time periods, especially since Daniel uses the phrase “latter days” elsewhere in his book.
3. They have different purposes. Gog’s intention is to take booty from Israel (38:12); to this end, Gog attacks Israel (38:16). In contrast, the king of the north overflows and passes through Israel on his way to attack the king of the south (11:40). The king of the north does not come to take a spoil and a prey from Israel.
Incidentally, the expression ‘overflow and pass over’ does not identify a particular power. This expression is a metaphor for a sweeping invasion. It is used in 11:10 in reference to Antiochus III, the king of the north, who invaded part of Judea shortly before the battle of Raphia in 217 AD; and again in Isaiah 8:8 in reference to Sennacherib’s invasion of Judea circa 700 BC.
4. They meet different fates. In 11:45, the king of the north places a palatial tent between the Mediterranean Sea and mount Zion and comes to his end without assistance. In contrast, Gog is surrounded with a “great company” who assist him (the nations in Ezekiel 38:5-6). Furthermore, Gog is destroyed by an Israeli host, accompanied by pestilence, rain, hail, fire and brimstone. A great earthquake also occurs (38:20). Gog’s weapons are burned by Israel for seven years (39:9); the Gogian host is buried in Israel in the valley of Hamongog (39:11); and it takes seven months for Israel to bury Gog’s host (39:12). In general, the fate of the Gogian host is on a much, much larger scale than the king of the north in 11:45, who simply “comes to his end.” And, the king of the north stands alone when he meets his end (without assistance), whereas Gog is surrounded by allies when he meets his end (with assistance).
5. Gog is destroyed immediately, but the king of the north is not. The Gogian host is destroyed immediately - “at the same time when Gog shall come against the land of Israel” (38:18). The king of the north has passed through the Holy Land; Edom, Moab and Ammon escape from him; and he has been controlling Egypt, Libya & Ethiopia before he comes to his end.
6. The reasons for their fates are different. The reason for the fate of the king of the north is not expressly provided, although the context suggests that the succession of kings from the Seleucid Empire finally terminates once God’s purpose with that kingdom has ceased. The reason for the demise of Gog is expressly provided – so that God’s holy name is known in Israel and so that the nations know that God is the Holy One in Israel (39:7), and so the house of Israel will know that the LORD is their God from that day and forward (39:22, 28).
7. There is no mention of the king of the south in Ezekiel 38. There is no mention of any kind of southern power who comes to attack Gog in 38. In contrast, the king of the south is the force who opposes the king of the north in 11:40. If the two prophecies were identical, one might expect to find a reference to a southern power in Ezekiel 38, but there is none.
Although there are nations in Ezekiel 38 which may be south of Israel (Sheba, Dedan, the merchants of Tarshish, with the young lions), they do not attack the king of the north, but act as spectators, asking the Gogian host, “Art thou come to take a spoil?” (v.13).
Furthermore, none of these nations are historically identifiable with the Ptolemaic kings of Daniel 11.
As an aside, it is difficult to identify the king of the south in 11:40 if the king of the north is Gog/Russia from Ezekiel 38. What southern power, historically associated with a Ptolemaic conquest over the land of Israel, is in a position to attack an invading force so gigantic that it takes Israel seven months to bury its dead warriors (39:12), and seven years to burn its weapons (39:9)?
8. The nations associated with Gog in Ezekiel 38 are completely different or appear in different contexts than the nations associated with the king of the north in Daniel 11. Although Libya & Ethiopia appear in both chapters, they are mentioned in entirely different contexts. Libya & Ethiopia, along with Egypt, are subservient to the king of the north in 11:43, but Libya & Ethiopia, along with Iran, Gomer & Togarmah, attack with the Gogian host in 38:5.
I have used the work of Bro. Bill Yake to assist in identifying the following list of nations of Ezekiel 38: Rosh, Meshech & Tubal (v.2); and Gomer and Togarmah (v.6).4 Persia (Iran), Ethiopia & Libya are also listed in v.5. Persia, Ethiopia, Libya, Gomer & Togarmah accompany Gog as he invades Israel. Gog is identified in 38:2 as the chief prince (KJV) of Meshech and Tubal. The word ‘chief’ is the Hebrew ‘rosh.’ Bill Yake writes, “If Ezekiel intended the phrase “chief prince," he would have used the phrase “nisi ha-rosh,” the common phrase for “chief prince.” But, in Ezekiel 38:3, the author used the phrase “nisi Rosh,” meaning “prince of Rosh.” (p.259). It seems therefore as if Ezekiel was indicating a location associated with Gog. Bro. Yake reviews the compelling evidence to associate ‘Rosh’ with Russia in Chapter 4 of his manuscript. A more accurate rendering of Ezekiel 38:2 is, “Gog, of the land of Magog, the chief of Rosh, Meshech and Tubal.” In Ezekiel 38, Gog seems to refer to a military ruler who comes from the area of Rosh (Russia), Magog, Meshech, and Tubal (all discussed subsequently). Magog was one of the 7 sons of Japheth. Bill Yake reviews the considerable evidence that he settled in Scythia. Meshech & Tubal were two nations inhabiting regions between the Caspian and Black Seas
Meshech is historically associated with the Moschi/Mushki/Muscovites in the land of Musku, near the Moschic mountains, at the eastern end of the Black Sea.
Tubal is associated with the Tibareni/Tabali/Tabalu people in the land of Tabal. (Meshech & Tubal are not derived from ‘Moscow’ and ‘Tobolsk’ - Moscow doesn’t appear in historical literature until AD 1147, and Tobolsk was not founded until 1587 AD (Yake p.278)).
· Persia - Iran
· Ethiopia – Ethiopia
· Libya - Libya
· Gomer refers to the Cimmerians (who settled in Cappadocia)
· Togarmah was the city of Til-Garimmu, west of Tabal.
· Sheba, Dedan & the merchants of Tarshish, with the young lions, ask Gog if he is come to take a great spoil (38:13). They do not accompany the Gogian host.
Because the nations in each of Daniel 11:40-45 and Ezekiel 38 are either completely different or appear in different contexts, it appears as if the king of the north is not the same as the Gogian host.
9. The geographical “north” references are not the same. Ezekiel refers to “north quarters” (38:6) and “north parts” (38:15 and 39:2). Daniel 11:40 refers to the king of the north. There are at least 3 reasons why the “north” references should not be assumed to be identical: a) There are multiple territories that are north of Israel. b) Daniel’s king of the north is singular, whereas Ezekiel’s host is plural. The use of singular and plural language is consistent with fairly narrow geographic location and broader geographic location, respectively. c) The reference to “north” does not have to indicate the location of a power because it can also refer to the direction of attack. For example, Babylon was east of Israel, but Jeremiah 4:6 warns that the disaster comes “from the north”. The same language is used of Babylon in Jeremiah 1:13-15; 3:18; 6:1, 22; 10:22; and Zechariah 2:6-7. The same is true for Assyria’s attack on Israel in Zephaniah 2:13, and Persia’s attack on Babylon in Jeremiah 50:3.
Given that the Gogian confederacy includes Persia (east of Israel) and Ethiopia and Libya (southwest of Israel), the reference to “north” in Ezekiel 38 cannot refer exclusively to geographic location, but must refer to direction of attack. Therefore, the use of the direction ‘north’ is different in these two prophecies: the reference to ‘north’ in Daniel 11 is geographic, whereas the reference to ‘north’ in Ezekiel 38 refers to the direction of attack.
10. News comes from the north and east to cause a furious reaction in the king of the north in 11:44, but no such news reaches Gog. Furthermore, if the king of the north is Russia, it is difficult to understand where the ‘northern’ news comes from, since north of Russia is the Arctic Ocean.
11. The entire host of Gog is destroyed, but nothing suggests that the king of the north is entirely destroyed. In Ezekiel 39:2, ‘no sixth part’ (Septuagint) will remain of Gog’s host, i.e., there shall be complete extinction. All we know about the king of the north is that he comes to his end.
Ezekiel 38:17 says that Gog has been spoken of “in old time by my servants the prophets,” i.e., previously mentioned by at least two prophets. Daniel came after Ezekiel, and so could not be referred to as a Gogian reference spoken of by Ezekiel. Thus, the king of the north in Daniel 11 could not have been spoken of as Gog by Ezekiel.
The references to Gog in the prophets seem to be obscure. One possibility is Joel 2:20, which seems to refer to the Gogian host, i.e. a “northern army”. Both Joel 2:20 and Ezekiel 39:11 mention an east sea and a stench. Joel prophesied 230 years before Ezekiel, so he could be spoken of by Ezekiel.
There are several reasons why the Assyrian in Micah 5:4-7 may also be a reference to the Gogian host: 1) Jesus appears to be reigning in 5:4 – same as in the Ezekiel 37 & 38 sequence; 2) Assyria can be geographically associated with Meshech, Tubal, Gomer, and Togarmah; 3) The Assyrian comes into the land of Israel, just like the Gogian host; 4) Israel attacks the Assyrian with the sword in 5:6, just as it does to the Gogian host in 38:21; 5) Israel is delivered from the Assyrian attack in 5:6, just as it is delivered from the Gogian host; 6) and Assyria attacks “in the day that thy walls are to be built” in Micah 7:11; this may be similar to Ezekiel 38:11, in which the Gogian host attacks a land of unwalled villages. Micah prophesied about 130 years before Ezekiel, so he could be spoken of by Ezekiel.5
In Numbers 24:17, Balaam prophesied that Israel’s king would be higher than Agag (Gog). This may be a reference to the same Gog of Ezekiel 38, rather than the Amalekite king Agag who was killed by Samuel in I Sam. 15:33. The Septuagint translation of Amos 7:1 mentions “King Gog,” although this translation is incorrect and “Gog” is not referenced. The Septuagint translators incorrectly deciphered some of the Hebrew letters in that verse.6
13. Gog attacks when Israel dwells confidently (Heb. betach). Nothing indicates that the king of the north invades Israel when Israel dwells confidently.
14. The Gogian host wants to take booty from Israel (38:12), but the king of the north wants to take booty from Egypt, Libya and Ethiopia (11:43).
15. Gog is pulled back from invading Israel, whereas the king of the north passes through Israel en route to Egypt, Libya and Ethiopia, and is not pulled back from Israel. In Ezekiel 38:4, Ezekiel prophesies the dramatic pulling-back of the Gogian host from Israel. He alludes to the Assyrian practice of placing hooks in the jaws of their captives, and tying them to a rope. Daniel makes no Assyrian references to the king of the north, and the king of the north is allowed to pass through the Holy Land, i.e., is not pulled back.
16. Gog is described as a guard to other nations the king of the north is never described similarly. 17. The king of the north plants palatial tents (11:45); Gog does not.
The next three points assume that Ezekiel chapters 38 & 39 follow in chronological sequence from chapter 37. These points are not necessary for the argument that Daniel 11:40-45 is different from Ezekiel 38 & 39.
18. Christ appears to be on the earth and reigning in Israel when the Gogian host invades Israel (37:24-25); there is no mention of Christ reigning in Israel in Daniel 11.
19. The Jews appear to be regathered in Israel when Gog invades, but not when the king of the north passes through. The Jews appear to be regathered in Israel when Gog attacks, not only because Christ is reigning over them, but because 37:21 says that God will take the children of Israel from among the nations and bring them into their own land; 37:22 says that they will be one nation in the land upon the mountains of Israel; 37:25 says that they will dwell in the land given unto Jacob for ever; 37:26 says God has made his everlasting covenant with them; and 37:27 says that God dwells with them. There is no mention of the Jews being regathered or permanently dwelling in their own land in Daniel 11:40-45 (or the rest of Daniel 11). Rather, Daniel 11 is concerned with events in the land of Israel during the time of Israel’s dispersion, in which the land of Israel is a battleground between competing powers located north and south of Israel.
20. Daniel 12 speaks of the resurrection, and seems to follow sequentially from Daniel 11. In Ezekiel 37, the resurrection has occurred since the Jews are in their land and God has made his everlasting covenant with them; then in chapter 38 the Gogian host invades. If so, the resurrection occurs after the king of the north in 11:40-45, but before the Gogian host invades in 38, which means that the king of the north in 11:40-45 cannot be the Gogian host of 38 & 39.
Considering the “Proofs” from
the Exposition of Daniel
In this section I reproduce and analyze the 7 proofs offered in the Exposition of Daniel (“Proof of the Russian Power being the King of the North”, p.82; John Thomas) as to why the king of the north in Daniel 11:40-45 is identical to Gog in Ezekiel 38.
My conclusion is that all 7 proofs are incorrect and do not prove that the king of the north in Daniel 11:40-45 is the same as Gog in Ezekiel 38. Rather, they strengthen the case that these two powers are different.
The proof is stated, and the bullet points are commentary.
1. “Their geographic position is the same. Gog’s country is the north parts in relation to the Holy Land; as it is written, 'Thou shalt come from thy place out of the north parts.' Gog is therefore the king of the north, his place or country being there.”
● There are multiple jurisdictions that are north of the Holy Land;
● Ezekiel’s geographical references are plural, indicating the multiplicity of nations that make up the host, including some that are obviously not north of Israel (Persia is east; Libya and Ethiopia are southwest);
● “North” can also refer to the direction of attack – e.g., Babylon’s attacks on Israel (Jeremiah 4:6, 6:22, 10:22), Assyria’s attack on Israel (Zephaniah 2:13), and Persia’s attack on Babylon (Jeremiah 50:3; 51:48).
2. “They are both the adversaries of Israel, and the invaders of their country.”
● Israel has had multiple adversaries over the years;
● The adversaries could be identical, or they could be different.
3. “The time they invade the land is the same. The king of the north invades it in the time of the end; and of Gog it is said, 'It shall be in the latter days, and I will bring thee against my land.'”
● The “time of the end” in Daniel 11:40 is not the “latter days” of Ezekiel 38;
● The phrase “time of the end” occurs 5 times in Daniel (8:17; 11:35; 11:40; 12:4; 12:9), occurs only in Daniel, and is associated with the unsealing of Daniel’s prophecy;
● In the KJV, the expression “latter days” (“last days”) occurs 15 times in 10 OT books, is not associated with the unsealing of Daniel’s prophecy, but is associated with many other things, such as the return of the Jews to their land, the establishment of God’s temple in Jerusalem, and God’s judgments on Moab, Elam, Edom, Seir, and Amalek.
4. “The same peoples are named as components of their armies. The Libyans and the Ethiopians are at the steps of the king of the north; and in the enumeration of Gog’s forces, it says, “Persia, Ethiopia, and Libya with them.””
● In Daniel 11:42-43 Libya and Ethiopia are ruled over by the king of the north after the king of the north passes through the Holy Land;
● In Ezekiel 38:5, Libya and Ethiopia are not ruled over by a northern invader – they accompany a northern invader as it invades the mountains of Israel;
● Isolating Libya & Ethiopia in both chapters ignores the other, different nations that are associated with them: Egypt in Daniel 11, and Persia, Gomer, Togarmah, Meshech, Tubal, Magog, Ros, and Gog in Ezekiel 38.
5. “Hostile tidings come from the east and north which excite the king of the north to fury; while tidings also come to Gog from the same quarter to deter him from invading the Holy Land.”
● Troublesome news from the north and east incites a furious reaction from the king of the north;
● No mention of news that come to Gog from the north or from the east; no mention of any news that reaches Gog; no mention of anything that deters Gog from invading the Holy Land.
6. “The king of the north encounters the Little Horn; and Gog is antagonized by “Sheba and Dedan, and the merchants of Tarshish and the young lions thereof” – the Anglo-Indian power – the “ancient ally” of the Little Horn.”
● no mention of the “little horn” in Daniel 11:40-45.
● no mention of the “little horn” in Ezekiel 38.
● Sheba, Dedan, the merchants of Tarshish and the young lions are not mentioned in Daniel 11.
7. “They both meet with the same fate, at the same time, in the same place, by the same power. The “king of fierce countenance” stands up against the Prince of princes; the king of the north encounters Michael the Great Prince; and Gog is smitten by Adonai Yahweh.”
● The king of the north meets his end after he plants palatial tents between the Mediterranean Sea and the sacred hill at Jerusalem; how he meets his end is unclear (Dan 11:45). Michael the Prince does not stand up against “the king of fierce countenance;” Michael the Prince stands up after the king of the north meets his end (Dan 12:1); the “king of fierce countenance” is mentioned in Daniel 8:23 in a completely different context.
● The Gogian host meets its end after God punishes it with pestilence, blood, hailstones, fire, and brimstone (Ezekiel 38:22); there will be a great earthquake (38:20); the Gogian host is buried in the valley of Hamon-gog (Ezekiel 39:11), and it takes 7 months for it to be buried (39:12); afterwards, the house of Israel will know that the Lord God is their God.
● Daniel 11 contains one verse about the fate of the king of the north; Ezekiel 38:19-23 & 39:1-22 (27 verses) describe the fate of the Gogian host. The destruction of Gog appears to be on a much larger scale than the destruction of the king of the north.
The Ottoman interpretation of Daniel 11:40-45
In this section, I will present the case that Daniel 11:40-45 is a prophecy that was fulfilled in 1917 with the termination of the Ottoman Turkish power shortly after General Allenby captured Jerusalem. This interpretation is not original to me, and seems to have been first identified as a possible interpretation not long after the conclusion of World War I. To illustrate, here is an excerpt from Islip Collyer’s book Daniel and Christ (pp.94 & 95), written in 1934, just 17 years after the Ottoman power came to an end.
“We were told in early days that the latter-day king of the North was identical with Gog, referred to in Ezekiel 38. As a result of this early impression we fell into an error from which perhaps others are not free ... all that can honestly be said is that the description of the king of the North in Daniel 11 is sufficiently in accord with the prophecy of Ezekiel that it may possibly relate to the same event. In view of the fact that this invasion is said to occur at the time of the end we might naturally assume the identity of the king of the North with Gog, but for the fact that another interpretation is so supported by history that it is difficult to suppose that there is nothing by coincidence in the matter.
“The Turks, coming from the North of Palestine and originally from beyond Euphrates, not only stormed against the Roman power, but as the prophecy suggests, this Euphratean flood “overflowed and passed over.” The Turks came with horses and chariots and many ships. They took the land of Egypt and had dominion over its treasures. The Turkish power entered the “glorious land” and overthrew its many countries, but in Edom, Moab and Ammon, which according to the prophecy were to escape, the Arabs have maintained a remarkable independence.
“The Turk planted his power in the glorious holy mountain and for many years Palestine was under his heel, but in the year 1917 he was driven right out of the land with a terrible overflow, and he came to his end as king of the North ... here then is a possible meaning of the text which cannot be ignored.”
Other brethren have since compared the facts of history with Daniel 11:40-45 and have come to the same conclusion as Bro. Collyer, although more emphatically. I have reproduced a comprehensive explanation for the “Ottoman interpretation” from Bro. Harold Lafferty’s The Prophecy Letter, May & June 1996. It was originally entitled “The King of the North: Terminated in 1917.”
Here it is:
“Many brethren are not aware that the King of the North is no longer in the prophetic picture. He will never again threaten God’s Land. He met his last end in 1917, when the forces of Britain captured Jerusalem and all Palestine from the Ottomans, which resulted in the drying up of the river Euphrates (Revelation 16:12), and made way for “the kings of the east.”
At that point, Israel had been promised an Homeland in Palestine by the Balfour Declaration – and that promise was soon to be confirmed by the League of Nations. Jewish fortunes abruptly changed for the better. The Almighty began to show us men and women who were watching that He was now fulfilling His plan with accelerated vigour; we were traveling no longer altogether by faith, but partially by SIGHT. When General Edmund Allenby captured Jerusalem in December, 1917 he did it not for Britain, but to hold for future Jewish return. Indeed, in 1922 the League of Nations gave Britain just such a Mandate - to form a homeland for the Jews according to the terms of the Balfour Declaration of 1917. Their government over Palestine was termed the British Mandatory Government, or the British Mandate.
The Jews began to return in fair numbers, until 1922, when their immigration was stifled by a British White Paper limiting their influx to 1,500 per month! This came about because of extreme Arabic pressure on Britain to keep the Jews out of Palestine.
Now, we are perfectly aware that earlier expositors have looked at these events as part of a unified, greatly complex, conflagration to take place at the End Time - a massive battle against God’s regathered People, Israel, by The King of the North, by Gog of the Land of Magog, the “latter day Assyrian” and others.
Problem is, it didn’t turn out that way at all. And cannot do so, for two of the key players have now been extinguished - the King of the North and the King of the South.
Daniel 11 details the long, serial narrative of the several Kings of the North and South in their contest to win and hold the Promised Lands during the time of Israel’s dispersion. The centuries saw several kings and countries gain and hold the titles King of the North, and King of the South. The criteria for those designations was only two: to be located either north or south of the Promised Land and its holy city, Jerusalem; and to come against it and gain control of it for ones own profit and gratification before the re-gathering began.
The situation at the time when John Thomas wrote Elpis Israel, was that Egypt had already come to her end as the King of the South; Ottoman Turkey was then King of the North. The interplay between these specific powers begins in Daniel 11:40, and continues through the end of the chapter, verse 45. This is the primary reference to these final episodes of these primary powers. The time period covered is 400 years: from 1517 to 1917 AD. Let’s examine them in some detail:
Daniel 11:40 - “At the time of the end shall the king of the south push at him: and the king of the north shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, and with horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall enter into the countries, and shall overflow and pass over.”
What does this verse mean? The southern king threatens the northern one, and is attacked straightway. It takes place at “the time of the end.” That time period is defined in the writings of Daniel by its uses, one of which is in the verse quoted above. Also, in Daniel 12:9, the words of the book are “closed up and sealed till the time of the end,” as also in verse 4. These words were un-sealed well before 1517 AD, the time of this fulfillment. In contrast to these words, John is told in Revelation 22:10, “seal not the sayings of the prophecy of this book, for the time is at hand.” The Revelation, it will surely be agreed, fleshes out and explains the writings of Daniel to a large extent. Perhaps, then, the unsealing of all the prophecies was dictated near the end of the first century. It may appear to be an early date for “the time of the end” to begin, but the phrase, “the time is at hand” lends credence to the idea that the time had come when these things could begin to be understood. Some students believe that “the time of the end” began with this utterance, and stretches to our present day. I am of that personal persuasion.
Now, what happened at that time?
Military action by the King of the South against the King of the North is indicated, which leads to a disaster for the former. Consideration of the historical facts, I believe, will make it readily apparent that the date of this action is 1517 AD. Egypt, King of the South at that time, being in control of Palestine and Jerusalem, indeed “pushed (northward) at” the Ottoman power, which had control of Damascus and Syria.
As Egypt attacked the Ottomans, disaster overtook the Egyptians when their Sultan was killed in fighting near Damascus. Without any effective leader, the Egyptians fled in disarray southward, through Palestine, toward Egypt. The Ottomans pursued the Egyptians with fervor and with huge numbers of troops. Its navy threatened Egypt proper. No fighting of significance occurred in Palestine on their way southward. The Ottomans, when they had overrun Jerusalem, in 1517, became the last King of the North almost by default. In other words, Jerusalem and Palestine was not their real goal, but in “passing over” that land, they had come into possession of it.
With the Egyptians leading the rout, the Ottomans chased them all the way to Cairo, where six months later, the Ottomans were victorious, conquering Egypt completely. The phrase “King of the South” is never again used in this or other prophecies. That entity has been eradicated as far as Jerusalem and Palestine are concerned.
The Ottoman troops had plainly “overflowed and passed over” Palestine, where historians tell us there was practically no fighting - merely pursuit of the Egyptians in wild, scattered commotion on their way to Egypt proper. Due to their positive presence in Egypt, the Libyans and the Ethiopians (Hebrew Kuwsh, the Sudan) also came under the Ottomans’ control. Verse 41 confirms this ...
Daniel 11:41 - “He shall enter also into the glorious land, and many countries shall be overthrown; but these shall escape out of his hand, even Edom, and Moab, and the chief of the children of Ammon.”
What happened was this: the King of the North entered into the glorious land, and overflowed it and passed over it with little attention to it. Palestine was to him on that occasion a mere passageway to Egypt, but unimportant in its own right.
But many countries were overthrown. Egypt’s possessions in the north, Syria and Palestine, as well as Egypt itself, Libya, and Sudan were all overthrown and placed under tribute, which we shall soon see.
The most interesting portion of this verse tells of the “escape” of Edom, Moab, and most of the children of Ammon. Historians tell us that these three areas, south of and east of and northeast of the Dead Sea, were sparsely inhabited by Bedouins who were naturally anarchic and practically uncontrollable. The Ottomans never did exercise its hegemony over these specific areas during their occupation between 1517 and 1917, because it was not worth the effort. Beyond these areas lay the trackless wastes of the Saudi Arabian peninsula, which was also worth little to them as well.
Daniel 11:42 - “He shall stretch forth his hand also upon the countries; and the land of Egypt shall not escape.”
“Stretching forth his hand” upon the countries mentioned above means he exercised hegemony (control) over them by force of his threat to their existence if they did not pay tribute and comply with his wishes. The land of Egypt, indeed, did not escape, for it was conquered and also placed under tribute to the Porte of Constantinople.
Daniel 11:43 - “But he shall have power over the treasures of gold and of silver, and over all the precious things of Egypt: and the Libyans and the Ethiopians shall be at his steps.”
His “power over the treasures of gold and of silver, and over all the precious things of Egypt” is the prophet’s way of saying that the Ottomans would now begin to extract from Egypt its precious treasures and its liquid capital. That is what happens when a nation is placed under tribute; the threat is, if they don’t pay the tribute, then their overlords will return and obliterate them! It’s a pretty strong reason for continui